Senate confirms Regan to lead EPA

Senate confirms Regan to lead EPA
Mar 11, 2021

Senators voted 66-34 in favor of Regan’s confirmation

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The U.S. Senate has confirmed another member of President Biden’s cabinet.

A bipartisan vote of 66 Senators gave Michael Regan the support needed to become the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 34 Senators opposed the vote on March 10.

As EPA administrator, Regan’s responsibilities will include “managing and enforcing the nation’s environmental laws and regulations, preparing the annual budget of the agency and leading U.S. government efforts related to the environment at home and abroad,” the agency’s website says.

One such responsibility will include overseeing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to ensure enough renewable fuels like ethanol or biodiesel are blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

Industry groups are hoping Regan and the EPA will enforce the RFS properly.

“The RFS was a game-changer for corn farmers nearly 20 years ago but previous administrations have failed to uphold the law and implement it as Congress intended,” John Linder, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), said in a March 11 statement. “NCGA hopes to have an open dialogue with the new Administrator upon his confirmation and work together to uphold the RFS, reduce emissions through greater use of biofuels, ensure farmers’ access to crop protection products based on sound science and seek practical solutions to issues important to agriculture.”

Some U.S. Senators are concerned if Regan will be able to perform the duties of his office.

President Biden’s climate agenda could be troublesome for farmers and the RFS, said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). She’s one of the Senators who voted against Regan’s confirmation.

“I still have serious concerns about the path this administration will take on issues like renewable fuel and agency rulemaking. President Biden has already taken steps to roll back the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule and transition the federal fleet to electric vehicles,” she said in a March 10 statement. “This, coupled with the unsuccessful record of the Obama-Biden Administration on securing E15 year-round and their harmful WOTUS rule leave me concerned about how Mr. Regan will handle important issues to Iowans.”

With Regan’s confirmation, 16 of President Biden’s cabinet-level nominees have been approved.

The other 15 are:

  • Antony Blinken as secretary of state
  • Janet Yellen as secretary of the treasury
  • Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense
  • Merrick Garland as attorney general
  • Tom Vilsack as secretary of agriculture
  • Gina Raimondo as secretary of commerce
  • Marcia Fudge as secretary of housing and urban development
  • Pete Buttigieg as secretary of transportation
  • Jennifer Granholm as secretary of energy
  • Miguel Cardona as secretary of education
  • Denis McDonough as secretary of veterans affairs
  • Alejando Mayorkas as secretary of homeland security
  • Avril Haines as national intelligence director
  • Linda Thomas-Greenfield as UN ambassador
  • Cecilia Rouse as chair of the council of economic advisers

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